Speak Out on Nuclear Waste

On June 8, 2012, Riverkeeper and our allies won a landmark U.S. Court of Appeals decision nullifying the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s “Waste Confidence Rule,” which has allowed each U.S. nuclear reactor to store highly radioactive nuclear waste on site. The now-invalidated rule presumed that waste stored at reactors would go to a national nuclear waste dump someday and that the storage of spent fuel at individual reactors is temporary and causes “no significant environmental impact.”

Because of our landmark court victory, there is no longer any legal basis for plants like Indian Point to avoid studying the environmental impacts of long-term nuclear waste storage in fuel pools or dry storage. At Indian Point, spent fuel has leaked carcinogenic nuclear waste into groundwater and the Hudson River, and its unfortified storage structure has been considered as a target of terrorists. The Court’s decision forces the NRC to address the risks of nuclear waste disposal before any U.S. nuclear plant, including Indian Point, may be licensed or re-licensed. This reckoning is long overdue.

Send Your Public Comments
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support a rulemaking on its “Waste Confidence Rule.” The first step is a “scoping process” to gather information necessary to prepare the EIS.

Riverkeeper encourages you to submit comments on the scope of the environmental review by January 2, 2013 using one of these three methods: Be sure to include in your comments the Docket ID number: NRC-2012-0246. There are three ways to submit written comments:

1. Go to regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0246

2. Send mail to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001

3. Fax comments to: RADB at 301-492-3446. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-3668; or email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov

Attend the Public Hearing, Live or Via the Internet
As part of the scoping process the NRC will also take public comment at two public hearing sessions November 14. One session will be open to the public to attend in person, and both will be accessible via the Web. You must register for a chance to submit oral comments. To register, email WCOutreach@nrc.gov or call 1-800-368-5642 and press ext. 3187 for Ms. Susan Wittick, or ext. 3133 for Ms. TR Rowe.

Wednseday, Nov. 14, 2012, 1-4 p.m. EST. Attend in person (NRC headquarters, One White Flint North, First Floor Commission Hearing Room, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852)—or via webstream at nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/webcast-live.html.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 6-9 p.m. PST. Attend via webstream at nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/webcast-live.html.

Attend an Informational Webinar
The NRC will also host two informational webinars but will not accept public comment at these events. You can access web-based meetings at nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/webcast-live.html at the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 1-4 p.m. EST
  • Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 6-9 p.m. PST

Make Your Voice Heard: What to Tell the NRC
For decades, Riverkeeper and other organizations have had no confidence in assertions by the nuclear industry and various regulatory agencies about nuclear waste—now a federal court has agreed. It is imperative that we use this opportunity to halt the industry push for a quick and dirty solution and inject some sanity into the debate on nuclear energy and radioactive waste. Here are some guidelines for commenting on the scope of environmental review:

1. Don’t Rush It.
The NRC is rushing the process, and expects to issue a draft EIS for public comment sometime in 2013. Producing a legitimate Waste Confidence Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should take seven years.

2. Be Thorough
The NRC must resolve many technical issues including long-term waste integrity, vulnerability and deterioration; the potential for accidents; and lessons learned from Japan’s devastating 2011 Fukushima Daiichi meltdown.

Please voice your opinions to ensure that the environmental analysis ordered by the Court is properly incorporated into the re-licensing of Indian Point and every nuclear power plant across the country!

For more information about NRC’s “Waste Confidence Rule” and the process moving forward, visit NRC’s website at http://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/wcd.html